In the recent end of the decade issue of Time magazine entitled "What Really Happened" there is an article entitled "The Men Who Stole the World". The article recounts the exploits of four young men who each found a new way to use technology to empower hundreds of millions of anonymous Internet users to steal music, movies, books, and software. The article has full and half page photos of these iconic young men who "changed the way the world works".
This is not the first "Pirates panorama" article from Time. At the very advent of internet piracy back in 1999 they ran a fan-boy tribute to Shawn Fanning (the inventor of Napster) even going so far as to put him on the cover. The slant of these articles has always been the same "hip young kids vs. clueless corporate suits". Nothing sums up this attitude better than this Justin Frankle's (the author of Gnutella) quote, "As far as the big business of hits and pop music, did that suffer?" he continues. He shrugs and laughs. "I hope so."
OK, Time magazine, I understand from a marketing perspective why you want your readers to think that you are siding with these cool guys against the Big Bad Corporate Media. I even sort of admire the way Time takes this position with a total lack of irony. It takes a lot of chutzpa for the largest magazine publisher in the US, founded by the ultimate media insider Henry Luce, to try to jump on the Anti-Big Media band wagon.
But what I don't understand is Time's total obsession with the people who "Stole the World" to the total exclusion of even one person who created that world in the first place.
The article mentions the entertainment industry, Silicon Valley software firms, the record companies, the Motion Picture Association, but no songwriter, singer, author, film maker, director or photographer was contacted for their opinion. Art is treated here like a commodity that originates from industrial giants. But the truth is very different. Art originates from the hearts and souls of real people who, in addition to trying to enrich the world with their creations, are also struggling to make enough money to cover their rent and car payments. These are the victims of these Pirate Kings who are so admiringly displayed in Time.
When Time reports on other iconic thieves, like Bernie Madoff, they most often take a victim's perspective. Why, then, do they always take the thieves' and looter's perspective when it comes to Internet piracy? I have been waiting throughout the decade for Time to post a single article about the real victims of piracy, the individual creators. I continue to wait in vain.
So my question for Time is, when the editor's looked at publishing this article why didn't anyone ask "What Really Happened" to the creators?
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more